Today I finished embroidering the name on a stocking I sold over at my etsy shop. I taught myself to embroider through trial and error and that trademark fearlessness (insanity?) that has gotten me through most of my 41 years of life. Once I was finished stitching those 5 very important letters onto the pretty stocking, I held it out at arm's length to study my work. I don't have some fancy expensive embroidery machine, so the letters aren't exactly the same size and the spacing might be a wee bit left of perfect, but I do put something into each stitch that a big fancy computer programmed embroidery machine can't, I put my heart, love and soul into it. Sure, maybe that sounds schmucky, but if you've ever made something with your own hands, you probably understand what I mean. At first I worried that maybe the hand work looked dorky and amateurish, but after letting the stocking hang where I could see it for a few hours, I think it's truly magical. Magic that I made and someone else saw and wanted to buy. That's a great feeling.
In an age of devices, convenience, mass marketing, outsourcing, and an insane need to have everything done immediately if not sooner, taking the time to do work by hand despite the fact that there are several machines available for purchase that will do the work for me might seem like a ridiculous waste of time. For me, it's kind of like writing letters to friends, it's a lost art in need of revival and I am proud to be one of those deeply entrenched in a community of crafters & artists devoted to keeping this art alive.
Admittedly, without devices of electronic convenience, I wouldn't be typing this on my laptop for your nearly immediate reading pleasure. I'm not bashing all modern conveniences and implying that I want to live an Amish existence. I have grown rather fond of my little smart phone and shiny new laptop with all the letters still on the keys. I do like wandering around a shopping center once in a while looking for things I'm convinced I could make better. And...I even enjoy the occasional meal of take out food! (Shocked? Get used to it, won't be the first time!) As much as I'd love to live on and feed my family from my own sustainable, Eco-friendly, organic farm, I live in a Stepford like master planned community (but I do manage to grow a fair amount of my own fruits, herbs, veggies & 5 varieties of very very hot peppers in my suburban back yard!) Most days, I'm designing and creating with the din of explosions and chaos coming from an X-box being played at a brain addling volume on the obscenely large television my spouse just had to purchase, but despite all that, my hands are happiest when they are making something nifty.
What's your favorite way to shun technology?